STARRED REVIEW
November 22, 2011

The Hugo Movie Companion

By Brian Selznick
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All the magic of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the Caldecott Medal-winning story of the little boy who lives in the walls of a Paris train station, comes alive in The Hugo Movie Companion. Brian Selznick takes readers behind the scenes of Hugo, the 3D movie directed by Martin Scorsese, through pictures, essays and interviews with cast and crew. Supplemented with full-color photographs from Hugo and illustrations from the original book, the movie companion reveals the scaffolding behind the film while providing a fascinating view of Hugo’s world, both real and imaginary.

The Hugo Movie Companion includes essays on the history of automatons, Paris in the 1930s, the life of French film pioneer George Méliès and more—plus a piece by Scorsese titled “The Birth of Cinema,” which elaborates on the early French films by Méliès and the Lumière brothers. Méliès’ films helped to inspire The Invention of Hugo Cabret’s unique format, as the mixture of text and illustrations allows parts of Hugo’s story to become visual, like a movie.

The cinematographer, researcher, costume designer and many more—plus screenwriter John Logan, composer Howard Shore and actors Sir Ben Kinsley and Sir Christopher Lee—all share what inspired their love of movies and how their talents contributed to the creation of Hugo. Selznick brings these interviews together in the last chapter, where the final two minutes of the film are deconstructed to reveal the work behind it—from the intricacy of the scene’s long take (one continuous shot) to the after-effects. Selznick even reveals a surprise about his own participation during that day of filming.

The vast history that inspired Selznick’s novel and the many people who contributed to its cinematic debut never detract from the magic of Hugo’s tale. Instead, The Hugo Movie Companion transforms the story into a piece of film history, one that children and adults alike will cherish.

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The Hugo Movie Companion

The Hugo Movie Companion

By Brian Selznick
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545331555

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